Barn KittiesFeb 21, 2023
We've had a few barn kitties over the years, but the two that were B.K. Extraordinaire are Lynkx and Morpheus. They came to us around 2010 and were probably a couple of years old. They had been someone's outdoor kitties in an apartment complex, and were being fed by a friend of ours (not the kitties' owner). She convinced the guy to let his cats go live in a barn instead of hanging around the outside halls at the complex.
These two cats reveled in their new role. "Barn cats? Get to stay inside when it's raining? Three squares a day and all the mice we can eat? What's not to like? AND people come to the barn and pet us, AND we have horsey neighbors who like to snuffle at us, AND we have piles of hay bales to climb on and a nice warm bed. Oh, yeah, we're IN."
Lynkx (above) and Morpheus fulfilling their barn cat duties
They took their job very seriously, and did it well. The barn became completely mouse free. They left the swallows alone, because the swallows were welcome visitors and we had an agreement with them. The swallows could live in our barn so long as they nested away from the hay (which they always did), and worked on the mosquito population. The cats seemed to understand that the swallows also had a job, and they became colleagues instead of enemies.
When we moved back to Colorado from Washington, the cats came with us. The place we found had a nice little barn for horses and cats. They got very adept at slipping under the barn door and coming up to the house, where they'd hang out on the porch. They didn't want to come in the house, they just wanted to make sure they knew what was going on.
It was at this time that Lynkx started leaping from the tops of the bales to the ground. It was his way of letting us know that we needed to pay attention. He was telling us that we knew him. He is the reincarnation of a cat we had named Yang, who looooved jumping from high places. (in his case the top of a tall cupboard in our kitchen onto the back of our couch. He was all grey; he looked like a flying squirrel when he did that.) Once we figured out what Lynkx was trying to tell us, and acknowledged it, the leaping stopped. Message sent and received. (He also has a yin/yang sign on his lips - could he be more obvious?)
Morpheus wasn't someone we knew, as far as we know. Apparently he came along for the ride. Such a dear boy! I wrote another blog about his disappearance and now reappearance as our cat Ellie. All of this reincarnation stuff can be complicated. As long as they know who they are, that's all that counts.
Yang and Yin above (Yang is grey). Their current incarnations: Lynkx (Yang) and Jackson (Yin)
When we moved to our current place, it was the middle of winter, and the barn/arena is very large and not conducive to snuggle spots for cats. So we brought the two boys in the house. Once again, they adapted well. "Stay in the house when there's a blizzard? Be warm without having to burrow into the hay? Laps in the evening? Oh, yeah, we're IN."
Morpheus and Tolstoy during a brief moment of friendliness
Morpheus eventually got tired of being bullied by our cat Tolstoy and left in mid-summer a couple years later. Lynkx is still happily in the house, and even though we've put a cat door into the barn, he has been inside the barn exactly twice, to supervise feeding time, and came right back up the house. He's older (probably 15 or 16 now), so we're not going to ask him to move outside.
Lynkx on one of his brief supervisory visits
We had a bit of a mouse infestation in the barn at one point and tried getting a couple of working cats from the local cat rescue, but they disappeared after about a month of keeping them in. It's hard for feral cats to do anything but feral cat stuff, no matter how cushy the accommodations. Interestingly, a rabbit has moved into the barn and since he/she has arrived, the mice have pretty much disappeared. So we have a barn rabbit instead of barn cats. I don't know how the bunny keeps the mouse population down, but we're grateful!
Now that we're changing residences again (hopefully for the last time, but I never say never), we'll have a smaller, cosier barn that will be good for barn cats. None of our crew will want to go outside (they've made that abundantly clear), so at some point we'll be adding a couple more felines to our family to become Barn Kitties Extraordinaire - or maybe a Barn Bunny Extraordinaire! We'll just have to see.
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